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Advances in spinal cord MR angiography.

Novel developments in MR angiography are reviewed that enable non-invasive clinical imaging of normal and abnormal vessels of the spinal cord. Current fast contrast-enhanced MR techniques are able 1) to visualize vessels supplying or draining the spinal cord and 2) to differentiate spinal cord arteries from veins. The localization of the Adamkiewicz artery, the largest artery supplying the thoracolumbar spinal cord, has become possible in a reproducible and reliable manner. Knowledge of the anatomic location of this artery and its arterial supplier may be of benefit in the work-up for aortic aneurysm surgery to reduce incidences of ischemic injury. Spinal cord MR angiography is ready to become a diagnostic tool that can compete with catheter angiography for detecting and localizing arterial feeders of vascular lesions and is strongly advised for use prior to invasive catheter angiography. Successful clinical application strongly relies on in depth knowledge of the complex spinal cord vasculature and skills in image postprocessing.

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